From an early age, Ellen Cookman has wanted to help people. Ellen comes from a family of lawyers and teachers. Her father, Bob Reinstein, is the former dean of Temple University Law School and fought in the Civil Rights movement. Her grandfather was a lawyer who worked as manager of a cannery for his aunt, Tillie Lewis. And her stepmother was an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia.
After receiving her law degree at U.C. Berkeley School of Law, and clerking for the Honorable Anthony J. Scirica, then-chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, Ellen returned to California and worked as a patent litigator at Morrison & Foerster in Palo Alto. Unable to find fulfillment in this area, she left her job and taught middle school math at Hope Technology School, a small private school in Palo Alto that practices full inclusion of typical and special needs kids. While teaching, Ellen attended a parent support group presentation given by an estate planning attorney on special needs trusts, which seemed like a great way to help people in need while utilizing her legal skills. Her husband also taught in special education for many years.
Ellen worked as an estate planning associate for six years at Lakin Spears LLP and at Gilfix & La Poll Associates, and then decided to start Cookman Law. She is passionate about helping families of all shapes and sizes plan for the future and utilize available resources. Read More…
Experiences & Accolades
Ellen is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law from the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. The California Board of Legal Specialization estimates that only 3% of all attorneys in California are Certified Specialists. To be a certified specialist, an attorney must take and pass a comprehensive full-day written examination; must have demonstrated a high level of expertise and requisite number of years of experience in the applicable subject areas; must fulfill mandated ongoing education requirements, and must have been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her work.
Ellen earned her Masters of Laws (LL.M.) in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law with Honors from Golden Gate University.
Ellen has an AV® Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating available. An AV® Rating signifies that an attorney has practiced law for a number of years and is recognized by his or her peers for the highest levels of skill and integrity.
Ellen has been acknowledged for Best Legal Services, Silicon Valley Region by Bay Area Parent magazine, Reader’s Choice Awards: Gold Medal (2019), Silver Medal (2018), and Bronze Medal (2017).
In 2020, Ellen was recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer, which is a rating service of more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.